It's not easy being a gay poet in North Carolina - and it's not just because of the poetry establishment, but also because the gay community can sometime ignore poetry as gingerly as the rest of society. Joe was always interested.
Running into Joe on the street was pleasurable always, enlightening frequently.
When we ran into each other he would ask what I was writing and what I was thinking. Joe never hesitated, either, to open his purse and contribute financially to projects I was working on, or to offer to buy my works - although because I felt I owed him so much I would never let him buy. As with everyone else, he wanted to talk movies too, and that was always a source of debate, good cheer, dismay, and excitement. I was surprised and delighted when a framed photograph of giraffes appeared in the mail one day after Joe's trip to Africa.
Joe also stepped forward, when few others did, after I started the Save West House Coalition. He wrote letters, he talked, he encouraged. I'll never forget his generosity then - nor how we both lamented the passing of many charms of Chapel Hill and wondered why progress had to mean destruction for some of the things we loved. We agreed it didn't have to.
When I moved to Chapel Hill in 1975 the town had lots of eccentrics. Joe wasn't one then, but I was glad he became one. He was one of the last. Luckily there are still a few around, but no one like Joe. My partner, Stanley Finch, and I will miss him. Love you Joe!
Joe on the move in Africa, 2006.